We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.
The priest unveiled the crucifix, and I
Went up -- but oh, my heart was numb and dry!--
To kiss His image who once heard, "Crucify!"
Tears rained from Peter down the rugged rock
When, thrice denying, he heard the crowing cock:
I dull-eyed, with my sins a countless flock.
I kissed Christ's wounded bosom in my turn--
Death-cold, I colder. Would that I could learn
That piteousness with which the strong saints burn!
Next an old feeble, shabby woman came.
She kissed His feet, and was transformed to flame;
Then hands and face and side, and sobbed His name.
Compassionate and hungry, in eager bliss
Crucified with Him! Would that I could kiss,
Dear stranger, your poor, faltering feet for this!
(From Not Even Death: A Book of Poems by Theodore Maynard, 1941.)